If you're on the hunt for socially responsible businesses in which to invest, you don't have to do all the searching from scratch.

You can get leads by examining the holdings of socially responsible mutual funds. The Winslow Green Growth (WGGFX) fund, for example, recently held Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR), Orion Energy (Nasdaq: OESX), and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR).

You can also look for lists of socially responsible companies and their leaders. Ethisphere magazine has a list of the 100 most influential people in business ethics for 2007. In compiling the list, factors considered included whether the person substantially transformed a business's operations, redesigned a product or service to use fewer natural resources, raised awareness on a critical issue, or exposed corruption.

I wasn't surprised to see public service types high on the list, such as the European Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief Christopher Cox. Seeing some journalists was also not a shock, and I was pleased to see four CEOs of American companies in the top 10:

  • Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric (NYSE: GE)
  • H. Lee Scott, Jr. of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT)
  • Anne Mulcahy of Xerox (NYSE: XRX)
  • Alan L. Boeckmann of Fluor (NYSE: FLR).

In fact, 22 of the 100 are CEOs. Immelt was cited for "GE's Ecomagination marketing campaign" and his "public commitment and leadership in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership coalition." Scott was praised for his commitment to "reduce packaging by 5% by 2013 -- the equivalent of taking 213,000 trucks off of the road." Boeckmann was recognized for backing the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative, supported by the World Economic Forum.

If you don't believe that attention to social responsibility pays off, read this praise for Mulcahy: "[N]ot only did Xerox save 11 million pounds of harmful e-waste from landfills in 2006, but the company also saved more than $2 billion by doing so."

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of General Electric and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.